PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):
More than 1,000 pregnant women in Trinidad and Tobago have contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19) since the first case linked to the pandemic was detected here two years ago, a senior medical official said on Wednesday.
The director of the Directorate of Women’s Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr Adesh Sirjusingh, told a news conference that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1,181 pregnant women have contracted the virus, with the majority of the cases being community-acquired.
Sirjusingh said that 58 cases of pregnant women contracting the virus were recorded in 2020, 1,101 last year, and so far this year, 22 cases have been recorded.
“The majority of these patients, when you look in the histories, they are community-acquired. Just like the general population, these patients are getting infected in their homes, when they’re out doing their normal business, as well as in their workplaces.
“Of these persons, two per cent has been hospitalised, a smaller number ended up in the High Dependency Unit, some went to the Intensive Care Uni, we actually have patients there now. And since the start of this year, we’ve had one additional maternal death in the post-partum period, added to the five I would have mentioned before; so we now have six confirmed maternal deaths associated with COVID-19.”
Sirjusingh said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made pregnancy a high-risk state, and that most of the critically ill cases are women who are not vaccinated.
“Preterm birth is a common complication of COVID-19 infection in pregnancy,” Sirjusingh said, disclosing that a new-born baby who died as a result of prematurity was a case of mother-to-child transmission. He said that as a result, the cumulative number of COVID-19-related maternal deaths now stands at six.
The senior medical official told reporters that both the Sinopharm and Pfizer vaccines have been approved for breastfeeding mothers, while for pregnant women in their second and third trimester, the Pfizer vaccine has been approved.
He said that as at January 17, there were 1,084 vaccinations started during pregnancy, while 675 women who have started their vaccination prior to pregnancy, have since completed it during pregnancy.